NFC West Pre-Draft Special
What’s up Scout Army?!?!
I know what you’re thinking, “What the hell is The Daily Armory doing up this early in the year?’ Well friends I will tell you. The Armory is expanding its reach into more of the seasonal game, which was tested out last summer with articles focusing on individual teams and where players line up for our fantasy football drafts. Since I get bored easily, I thought it might be worthwhile to get started even earlier and hit the ground running before the annual NFL draft. What this means is that I have started the process of building depth charts for each team with both offensive and defensive players which you will find included right here. All teams have been updated with free agent moves as of March 29th, 2018. These will be updated weekly through the season and will be posted at the end of every month (Early May for rookie insertion post draft). I will also be attending this year’s draft in Arlington, TX so I can be more immersed in the pageantry and frankly……I need what amounts to a vacation and there’s nothing I would like more than to work on The Daily Armory while enjoying the warmer temps. Each Sunday in April will find a new Armory article focusing on draft prospects that mean the most to us. Of course, I mean running backs, wide receivers, quarterbacks and tight ends. Well, I’ve rambled on enough. Let’s get started…….
What I’ve got for everyone is a quick overview of each team with a recap of 2017 and more importantly, where I’m seeing deficiencies on the offensive and defensive sides of the football. What I also have is some DVOA numbers (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) to share from footballoutsiders.com. It’s my favorite site for looking at strengths and weaknesses of an offense and defense and using the data to help make weekly decisions in dfs. DVOA is also used for offenses as well and helps determine its true authenticity. The site also uses a weighted DVOA which adjusts weekly so that earlier matchups become less important and helps to determine that offense or defense’s true rank. I will show these values as such……
Offensive Rank/Weighted O Rank/Rush O Rank/Pass O Rank
Defensive-Rank/Weighted D Rank/Rush D Rank/Pass D Rank
I will also include offensive and defensive line ranks which will look like this….
OL Rush Rank/OL Pass Rank
DL Rush Rank/DL Pass Rank
Confused? It should make sense in the end. Like I said earlier, check out the site. It’s very good at explaining the numbers in full.
HC: Steve Wilks (NEW)
Tough year for the Cardinals as David Johnson went down right out of the gate. Then they had Carson Palmer go down and it became an absolute travesty what they had to roll out at both quarterback and running back. Larry Fitzgerald showed that he never gets old and was the most consistent offensive piece they had. The defense was decent, not great and was hindered by an inept offense. They’ll look to rebound with a completely new coaching staff in 2018.
OC: Mike McCoy (NEW)
Woof! Carson Palmer has retired, and the Cardinals have brought in Sam Bradford to fill the void. While I feel that he is an upgrade for the position it still is a position that could be looked at in the draft as Bradford is dangerous to trust because of injuries. I also don’t see them wanting to rely on Mike Glennon for the long term if Sam doesn’t make it through the season. They’ve also addressed the offensive line in free agency which should improve them even though the players they brought in aren’t the best at their positions. So, the team could look at building blocks behind the starters and would look at guys who can not only back them up, but also come in to start and keep that role as the starter. Tight end has always been a problem, but without any great tight end in this draft they may stay put and address it next offseason. Wide receiver needs to be addressed heavily as there is almost nothing behind Fitz aside from JJ Nelson who isn’t great in his own right. They should look at a guy who will eventually replace Fitzgerald because he will probably retire after this season.
NEEDS: WR, OL, QB, TE
DC: Al Holocomb
The defense was solid along the front as far as the run defense was concerned, but really suffered against the pass as they couldn’t generate a consistent pass rush which put the pressure on the secondary and allowed offenses to have success in the passing game. They should be able to correct this by focusing attention on the linebacker positions. Outside of that, they may look at safety or cornerback to fill their slot position vacated by the departure of Tyrann Mathieu.
NEEDS: LB, S, CB
Los Angeles Rams
HC: Sean McVay (11-5)
What a difference a year made for Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams. Not having to deal with the big move to LA from St. Louis and getting rid of Jeff Fisher seemed to really help this team achieve more in year 2. A more consistent offense led by Todd Gurley helped to open the offense and take pressure off the defense. This allowed the defense to take advantage of turnovers by not being gassed by halftime which also allowed them to not be completely bludgeoned by games end.
OC: Aaron Kromer/Shane Waldron
Coordinator changeover for the Rams, but in the end the play calling falls on the shoulders of Head Coach Sean McVay anyways. The offense is solid position wise as the Rams have addressed the loss of Sammy Watkins by trading for Brandin Cooks (The trade happened after the current depth charts were made and will be added for the next set.). They could build some depth at the wide receiver position but will probably not attack until later in the draft. That leaves only one guard position that should be addressed and that’s at right guard where Jamon Brown currently starts. Building offensive line depth would also be smart as they are thin on the left side.
NEEDS: G, T, WR
DC: Wade Phillips
The defense was addressed via free agency and leaves them with only one main focus for positions. That position is at linebacker where the Rams should look for depth and as a possible starter in case Ramik Wilson doesn’t work out at middle linebacker.
San Francisco 49ers
HC: Kyle Shanahan (6-10)
I wonder where I start here?!?! The 49ers started off the 2017 in typical bottom of the barrel fashion. If there was a way to lose, they found it. At the trade deadline they decided to take a shot and traded with the Patriots for Jimmy Garoppolo and the offense started to take off. Now they weren’t completely efficient, but they did make everyone believe that they were going to be a competent offense heading into this season with folks even calling for a reappearance in the playoffs. The defense was terrible as predicted but held there own once the offense had the ability to keep them off the field.
OC: Kyle Shanahan
So, we know that Jimmy G was an improvement for the offense, but what about the rest of the offense? They have Pierre Garcon returning from a season ending neck injury and Marquise Goodwin signing a nice extension, so they have starters are in place at wide receiver. I would have liked to see them get another wide receiver in free agency as I’m not completely sold on Trent Taylor, but they could find a nice wideout in the draft. With the addition of McKinnon at running back and being set at tight end the only real need is the offensive line. Primarily they should look at guard where they have Josh Garnett slated to start for right now. He is the weakest link in the chain and would be the first man to go although I can see them going after any other piece of this line if they deem that player an upgrade over what they have now.
NEEDS: OL, WR
DC: Robert Saleh
I’m not sure how good this defense is going to be, but I did like the Richard Sherman signing. I’m a HUGE hater of Sherman but adding him really puts some stability at the cornerback spot. As a Packers fan I was jealous that they didn’t pull off this move. Jimmie Ward didn’t have a good season last year, but I think he rebounds. The Niners would be wise to invest along the defensive line where they could use an upgrade at defensive end and tackle. They could also use upgrades at linebacker outside of Reuben Foster in the middle. They are close to being solid, but they must be precise in the draft.
NEEDS: DE, DT, LB
HC: Pete Carroll (9-7)
The sparkle has left this diamond as the Seahawks somehow salvaged a winning record, but they were dreadful. The offense had no flow whatsoever and even though Russell Wilson did all that he could to will his team to the playoffs the rest of the team just couldn’t pull it together. The influx of non-talent at running back certainly didn’t help and the wide receivers and tight ends couldn’t buy an open/good route to save their lives. The defense started to show its age as they finished just above the middle of the pack league wide in total defense.
OC: Brian Schottenheimer (NEW)
The team has major flaws along the offensive line. As much as I would like them to grab a workhorse running back or a nice wide receiver to go with Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett they can survive with Jaron Brown as the third wideout and Mike Davis at running back. That’s not to say that they shouldn’t go after those positions, but if they don’t fix the offensive line the offense is going to implode because there is no way Russell Wilson will last a second full season behind them again. Seattle decided that Ed Dickson was a suitable replacement for the losses of Jimmy Graham and Luke Willson to free agency but come on……It’s Ed Dickson!
NEEDS: OL, WR, RB, TE
DC: Ken Norton Jr. (NEW)
The defense rates out well, but they still have needs. They should look to improve their linebacker position especially where DJ Alexander resides, because he is a definite weak spot. They should try and build a better corps of cornerbacks behind Griffin and Thorpe because if they prove to not be able to handle the starting jobs they can try someone else instead. I would like to see that option being someone highly regarded though versus a sneaky later round pick. Pay attention to what happens to Earl Thomas. The Seahawks have been rumored to be shopping him around so if they do pull off a trade they would need a high-end replacement for him.
NEEDS: LB, CB, S
As always, any questions or comments leave them here or reach me on Twitter @roydawg_13